Bed Bugs: Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from Licensed & Highly Trained Professionals
It’s hard to believe, but bed bugs have been irritating and infesting homes and properties for thousands of years. That’s why it takes a seasoned expert to help you get rid of them. At Frame's Pest Control, Inc., we assist residential and commercial property owners with infestations by providing prevention, treatment, and extermination services. However, in addition to knowing who to call, it’s also important to know more about bed bugs so you can help avoid them in the future.
What are bed bugs?
Although their name may suggest otherwise, bed bugs can be found in a multitude of places, including walls, furniture, college dormitories, office buildings, etc. In other words, your bedding isn’t the only place you should be checking for them. Nocturnal and feeding on blood, these small insects are resurging to become a problem all over the world.
What does a bed bug look like?
There are three stages of a bed bug’s life, all of which dictate its appearance. No bigger than a pinhead, a newly hatched bed bug is translucent, making it difficult to spot. As they age, an immature bed bug, also known as a nymph, grows in size and starts to get some color. A full-grown, adult, bed bug has an oval body shape, is brownish in color, and is around a quarter-inch long and wide.
Will I catch a disease from a bed bug bite? What are the symptoms of a bite?
Although they’ve been around for so long and can carry over 28 pathogens that affect humans, there has been no documented case of disease transmission from a bed bug. The only thing you have to worry about is their bites, which typically come with itching and inflammation. Their bites often take the appearance of a rash due to an allergic reaction, and sometimes are severe enough to require medical attention. Additionally, the emotional stress resulting from the discovery of a bed bug infestation can be quite harmful to one’s health.
What causes a bed bug infestation?
Because they are incapable of flying and jumping, bed bugs travel by hitchhiking on other items in order to be introduced to new environments. They typically hide in clothing, used furniture, luggage, or bedding.
Therefore, you are at an increased risk of bed bug exposure if:
- You purchase a used mattress or second-hand furniture
- You allow a guest to stay in your home or you are a guest in another’s home
- You travel frequently and stay in a hotel
- You or a member of your family is a college student living in the dorms
- You or your child is attending a boarding school or summer camp
How do you tell if you have a bed bug infestation?
Because they’re so small, which makes them difficult to spot unless you’re trained to do so, the best way to tell whether you have a bed bug infestation is to hire an entomologist and/or pest control professional, like ours, and have them collect a sample.
Until you can get a professional to your property, it’s important to know some of the common signs of bed bug infestations, including:
- Waking up with bites (appearing in rows or clusters), rashes, or welts
- Noticing dark spots or tiny droplets of blood (which are actually bed bug excrement) on your bedding or mattress
- Finding any eggs, insects, or molted insect skin
What are ways I can prevent bed bug infestations?
Fortunately, there are several things you can do which minimize the potential for infestation.
- Avoid purchasing any used or second-hand furniture, bedding, or mattresses. If you do, be sure to inspect them carefully.
- Prior to setting luggage down, inspect all bedding and furniture in a hotel room
- Perform frequent inspections of your luggage while you travel
- Bed bug proof your bed with encasements, such as Protect-A-Bed
I suspect I have an infestation. What do I do?
The instant you believe you have a bed bug infestation, contact a licensed pest management professional, like ours at Frame's Pest Control, Inc., so they can perform an inspection and determine a proper solution. We recommend that you do not begin discarding any of your bedding or your mattress yet, as this can actually cause the infestation to easily spread throughout your home. We also never recommend anyone try to solve bed bug infestations without the help of a pest control expert. Improper treatment could cause the infestation to travel throughout your property, which will make it more difficult and costly to eliminate.
What’s a bed bug’s average lifespan?
Unfortunately, bed bugs can survive for quite a long time. Depending on the environment, such as temperature and humidity, they can live without feeding for anywhere from 20 to 400 days. In laboratory studies, adult bed bugs have survived over 400 days without food and in a low-temperature setting. Older bed bugs live longer than younger nymphs without feeding.
Is there a temperature that will instantly kill bed bugs?
We use heat treatment to help treat bed bug infestations. This is because heat is able to reach the small crevices we aren’t able to reach to inspect. Bed bugs cannot survive when the temperature reaches 117 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. We also create hot boxes, which can reach higher temperatures, in order to ensure that we cover all of your belongings and eliminate bed bugs at any life stage.
How many types of bed bugs are there?
Although there are around 90 species of bed bugs, the only 3 that bite humans are C. lectularius (Household Bed Bug), C. hemipeterus (Tropical Bed Bug), and C. Adjunctus (Bat Bed Bug). They are most commonly found in carpets, sofas, and mattresses in the U.S.
The Household Bed Bug
Also known as Cimex Lecturalius, this is the most common type of bed bug. Young ones are very small and translucent in color. There is a great possibility that you may not be able to spot them even if they are moving on your sheets. The adult ones are comparatively larger and may grow up to seven mm in length. They are dark brown in color and a fully-fed household bed bug may look like an apple seed. However, spotting them is a difficult task as they generally come out at night only when you are fast asleep.
Household bed bugs can feed on animals and humans alike. However, human blood is their favorite. Even a few bed bugs inadvertently brought into your home can form a colony within a few months. Bed bug control after the initial infestation becomes very difficult and expensive. They reproduce fast and a colony can contain thousands of them.
The Tropical Bed Bug
Also known as Cimex Hemipterus, these bed bugs are found in tropical regions. Florida and other southern states in the U.S. are likely to have them. However, like all bed bug varieties, they are also good hitchhikers and may travel to other places in the luggage of people traveling from tropical areas. They are a bit larger than the household bed bug and may grow up to eight mm in length. They are dark reddish-brown in color and may live up to a year. Tropical bed bugs like to hide in wood and paper and do not prefer stone, plaster, steel, or textile for hiding. They may leave a very foul odor and their bites can cause allergic reactions and irritation.
The Bat Bed Bug
Also known as Cimex Adjunctus, these bed bugs do not prefer human beings as their food source. While they typically feed on the blood of bats, human blood will do if bats are not available. To the naked eye, bat bugs are identical to household bugs. They are five to six mm long and have reddish-brown coloring. However, they have longer hair than common bed bugs, but you will not be able to see that with the naked eye. The only good thing is that once you get rid of a bat infestation in your home, these bugs will go away easily. They like to stay closer to their natural food source.
The small size and indistinguishable features of the various types of bed bugs make identification difficult. Yet, it is very important for controlling infestations. You must call the experts at the earliest sign of one for effective bed bug control.
I have an infestation, how fast will it spread?
Bed bug infestations spread incredibly fast. A bed bug is able to travel quickly between floors and rooms because it can span a distance of four feet per minute. This is why it is incredibly important to begin treatment as soon as you notice you’re dealing with an infestation—it can become uncontrollable within a few days if left alone.
What are the symptoms of a bed bug bite?
A bed bug bite begins as a painless bump. Over time, the bump becomes itchy and irritated. You can get bit on any exposed area of skin, such as your arms, legs, face, back, and neck. Some people develop more severe reactions which include blisters, fevers, and/or difficulty breathing.
Do bed bugs only hide in beds?
Despite their name, bed bugs can be found in many places throughout your property. We commonly treat infestations in carpets, furniture, luggage, clothing, and wallpaper. Due to their small, flat bodies, they are able to hide in extremely small crevices and spaces.
Where are bed bugs most commonly found?
The most common places bed bugs are found are hotels and homes; generally, any place that has frequent visitors is at risk for an infestation. Because they travel via clothes and luggage, frequent travelers are at higher risk of “catching” them.
Are home remedies for bed bugs effective?
Unfortunately, no. There’s nothing as effective as professional pest management which is why you need to call our licensed experts at Frame's Pest Control, Inc. for safe and effective solutions.
What are the different types of bed bug treatments?
When you call a licensed pest control expert to get rid of bed bugs, they have multiple treatment options to choose from depending on the location and severity of your infestation. The two most common methods are whole-room heat treatments and insecticides.
During a whole home heat treatment, a pest management company, like ours, brings in special equipment designed to raise the temperature within your home to a level that kills bed bugs. However, there are no residual effects from this treatment, and without proper prevention, your home could quickly become reinfested.
Insecticides are ways to thoroughly and effectively eliminate bed bugs. When a pest control pro inspects your property, they will determine which type of treatment would work best.
There are multiple types of insecticides, which include:
- For sofas or other surfaces that are frequently used or touched, we recommend a fast-acting, contact one
- For furniture, cracks, crevices, or undersides of surfaces, we recommend a residual one
- For electrical outlets, baseboards, voids, and other cracks or crevices, we recommend a dust insecticide